Drama Ensemble Tips

Tips for teachers and students of senior drama when working with ensembles.

The logical sequence of events in chronological order is:

  1. task distribution
  2. group creation
  3. brainstorming
  4. researching
  5. scripting and/or improvising
  6. rehearsing
  7. editing
  8. refining
  9. performing
  10. evaluating

Note: there will naturally be some overlap, as these steps are difficult to undertake in isolation.

Advice:

  • allow more time than you think you will need for performance creation with ensemble works
  • allow for adequate brainstorming and research at the beginning of the task
  • too much research will result in inadequate rehearsal time
  • too little research will result in superficial performances that do not adequately address the topic/theme
  • group creation should not be based on friendships, but rather on working relationships and common interests
  • small groups can be very successful because they tend to be more efficient than large groups
  • small groups can also be lost for ideas due to the lack of suggestions in the brainstorming and creation phases
  • large groups can often be very successful due to the amount of creative ideas within the group
  • large groups can also be inefficient, take too long to produce material
  • ideal sized groups are often 4-5 students
  • aim to finish all rehearsals at least one week prior to performance, allowing for refining of work
  • editing material along the way is much better than cutting slabs of dialogue and action at the last-minute
  • a good ensemble group is dedicated, organised, efficient, innovative, creative, takes risks, thinks outside the box
  • poor ensemble groups are often hampered by laziness, tardiness, a lack of attention to detail, disorganisation, attendance issues
  • be prepared to put in the extra time in order to achieve greatness, eg. before school, after school, or weekend rehearsals
  • research does not just equal the Internet – there are libraries with printed books out there, too!
  • smart groups distribute tasks amongst ensemble members according to the skills and abilities of individuals
  • if consistency can be achieved, it is quicker to create scenes or script material simultaneously in different locations
  • leave line-learning for homework between classes, as it is a waste of valuable time learning lines at school
  • the teacher is the best resource in the room, so don’t be afraid of regularly asking questions
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1 Response

  1. Josh says:

    Amazing Justin. This confirms that we’re on the right track.

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